How to Move with Dogs

Emily Garland
Jul 18, 2022
Icon Time To Read4 min read
Icon CheckSarah Cimarusti

At a glance

When you’re packing up everything you own, coordinating movers, or registering your kids for new schools, adding in the logistics of moving with a dog can certainly be tricky. But like everyone in your family, your pup probably feels a little anxious about the changes ahead.

Fortunately, you can ease their worries—and make the moving process easier on yourself—by following a few expert tips for moving with dogs. Whether you have a new dog, senior dog, pint-sized furry friend, or extra-large pup, we’re sharing everything you need to know about pet relocation.

Guide to moving with dogs

Understanding your dog’s anxiety

Like many animals, dogs are naturally territorial. If you’re a dog owner, you probably see signs of this all the time: they’re possessive of their favorite toy at the dog park, they only want to sleep on one specific dog bed, and they stand guard when intruders come around (yep, even if it’s just the UPS person.)

This territorial instinct has helped dogs survive in the wild for centuries—so it’s easy to see why it shows up in even the most docile dogs.

When you’re moving to a new environment, your dog will sense big changes are coming. The piles of boxes, the change in schedule, and the bustle of the movers disrupt their typical routine, and they’re understandably suspicious.

Signs of stress in dogs

Not sure how your dog feels about the upcoming move? Here are a few signs your dog might be feeling anxious or stressed about the changes:

  • Appetite loss
  • Barking, whimpering, and whining
  • Yawning and licking
  • Ears or tail tucked down
  • Hiding
  • Shaking
  • Disengaged or aloof

Preparing your dog for the move

Any change in routine could be hard on your dog, so it’s best to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible while you prepare for the move. Go on walks as usual, take them to the dog park regularly, feed your dog at the regular time, and leave plenty of time for play.

If you aren’t giving your dog as much attention, they may start to act stressed or anxious. Consider trading off packing responsibilities with your partner or other family members, giving one person the job of playing with the dog—away from the noise and distractions of the house.

Caring for your dog during the move

Moving day can be chaotic, so you’ll want to decide ahead of time how you’ll care for your dog during this time. If possible, it’s best to have them out of the house. Otherwise, your stressed dog may constantly be underfoot, whimpering and wondering what the bustle is about.

Here are some options:

  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to watch your dog at their house
  • Take your dog to a kennel
  • Keep your dog in their dog crate while the movers are at the house
  • Keep your dog in one room of the house on moving day

Ease your dog’s anxiety by ensuring they have plenty of food, water, and toys throughout the day. Get a microchip for your dog and make sure they’re wearing an ID tag with accurate contact information in case they’re extra skittish.

Traveling with your dog

Coordinating pet travel can be one of the trickiest parts of moving with a dog. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety during this time, so it’s best for their mental health to keep your dog with you as you journey to your new house.

If a moving company is driving the truck, you might be road-tripping to the new home. In that case, bring your dog in their crate and look for pet-friendly hotels along the journey.

Be a good dog owner on your road trip: remember to make plenty of stops to let them get exercise, and make sure your dog has plenty of ventilation if you ever leave them in the car. Go easy on the dog food, especially if your dog is known to have a sensitive stomach!

If you’re moving internationally, you may need a pet passport to take your dog.

Heads Up

Can’t transport your dog by yourself?

While some dogs can handle long road trips just fine, others might struggle to get comfortable in a car. Additionally, some airlines won’t let you ship dogs or other animals unless you’re going through a pet shipping company. If you’re moving with a dog and are unable to transport them yourself, consider hiring reputable a professional pet transportation company to ship them for you.

Settling in with your dog

Remember that it will take time for your dog to adjust to a new environment. Ease the transition by returning to your old routine as soon as possible, including feeding routines, walks, sleep, playtime, and more. Meet your dog’s needs by bringing out their old dog bed and toys with a familiar scent.

Pet-proof your home by keeping a close look out for escape routes, and then let them have plenty of time to explore their new surroundings. Keep your dog on a leash when you go on walks, and stick to the same routes for a few weeks, so you don’t overwhelm your dog.

The takeaway

Moving houses is a big deal for everyone in your family—including your dog. Familiar toys, belongings, scents, and routines are all important for your dog’s health.

Older dogs can have difficulty with transitioning to the new place, so have patience and compassion for your four-legged friend. Your dog could take a few weeks (or even a few months) to adjust.But soon enough, you’ll happily enjoy life together in your new home!

Need more moving help? Check out for How to Hire a Moving Company.


How do you relocate with a dog?

The best way to relocate with a dog is by sticking to your normal routine. Continue to walk your dog, play together, and feed your dog at the usual time. Coordinate with a friend, family member, or dog kennel so that your dog is out of the house on moving day, and if at all possible, take your dog with you on your journey to the new home.

Is moving stressful for dogs?

Yes, moving can be stressful for dogs. Since they’re territorial creatures, the change in environment and routine can be confusing and anxiety-inducing. You can reduce their stress by keeping familiar routines, bringing their favorite toys and dog bed, and keeping them with you on the road trip or flight to your new place.

What do you do if you can’t move with your dog?

If you can’t move with your dog, it’s important to find them a loving home before you go. Start with your personal network and ask if any friends or family members would like to adopt your dog. If not, consider selling the dog or taking it to a pet adoption center.

How do I move when I have a pet?

If you’re moving with a dog, cat, or other pet, try to keep their typical routines throughout the moving process. Ask a friend or family member to take care of your pet while you pack the moving van, and then bring your pet (and their favorite toys) with you on the trip to your new home.

Recommend resources

You’re juggling a lot as you prepare for the move. Make sure you cover your bases by checking out these helpful moving resources:

Emily Garland
Written by
Emily Garland
Emily is an avid copywriter currently living in Salt Lake City. She enjoys poetry, music, trying new foods, traveling, and relaxing at home with a good dramedy or reality show on TV.